Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Descent of Man” as Want to Read:
The Descent of Man
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Descent of Man

by
4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  3,150 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
In The Descent of Man (1871, 1874) Charles Darwin (1809-1882) focused special attention on the origin and history of our own species, a subject he had avoided in his previous writings on evolution. He claimed that the human animal is closest in ancestry to the two African "pongids," or anthropoid apes (chimpanzees and gorillas). Further, Darwin held that our species and th ...more
Paperback, 698 pages
Published December 1st 1997 by Prometheus Books (first published February 24th 1871)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
peiman-mir5 rezakhani
دوستانِ گرانقدر، در این کتاب، زنده یاد <داروین> (یادش همیشه گرامی باد) تمامِ اختلافاتِ اساسی بین انسان و حیوانات را نفی می کند و تمامِ اوصاف جسمانی و روانیِ انسان را حالتِ تکامل یافته ای از حیوانات میداند... مغز و ھوشِ انسانی حالتِ کامل تر از مغز میمون است و انسان ھای آغازین و یا همان انسان هایِ بدوی، حلقهٔ واسطِ انسان و میمون ھای پیشرفته اند... وجودِ مو در بدنِ انسان از اوصافِ مشترک انسان و حیوان است و تمام اختلافات نظیرِ روی دو پا ایستادن و چگونگی صورت و حرکت دست و صفات روحی از قبیلِ " ت ...more
Maria
Jun 26, 2016 Maria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'll give this superb book 5 stars and another 5 stars to it's genius author,beloved Charles Darwin☆☆☆☆☆
این کتاب به فارسی برگردانده نشده است و تنها منبع فارسی آن چکیده ایست که در سال 1330توسط دکتر محمود بهزاد در کتاب داروینیسم و تکامل گنجانده شده است.
Jason Sixsmith
Mar 19, 2008 Jason Sixsmith rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This book reveals just how much Darwin's racist and sexist views influenced his scientismic method.
Marts  (Thinker)
Jan 25, 2011 Marts (Thinker) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in natural history!!
Actually I'll give this 6 or 7 stars but unfortunately I'm only allowed 5!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So in 1871, Charles Darwin, first published his “Descent of man and selection in relation to sex”. This work was published after his 1859 “Origin of species” which was met with much contradiction, since it opposed the biblical Genesis experience. “The Descent of Man”, well this volume I, focuses on the issues and observations of evidence of such descent, the development of man from a lower species, a compariso
...more
Merilee
Oct 01, 2009 Merilee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hallelujah! Finished at last....and it only took almost 2 years to get through all 648 pages. Darwin is much more verbose in this book than he was in the very readable Voyage of the Beagle. I'm sure that this book made quite a (shocking) splash in 1874, when it was first published. He put off publishing it for a while after On the Origin of Species as he was well aware of what knickers would be twisted by the realization that he was actually saying that even humans evolved...from apes, no less. ...more
Sarah
May 17, 2010 Sarah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the few books I found no redeeming qualities in. Some of his sentences absolutely scream racism and sexism. I know that ignorant statements should not entirely discount what a person is saying but when Darwin refers to the "Negro" (his word) as an entirely different "species" than the European man; I think my cringe lasted for the rest of the afternoon. I am truly astounded that so many of Darwin's loyal followers have either not read this book or choose to ignore it. Granted it w ...more
Ali Shams
Ok, I understand how important the work done in this book must have been at the time it was published, but now with the recent discoveries in this field many of the arguments and proves put forward could be scientifically argued. Also I couldn't help noticing the contradiction in his own work. I'm Not underestimating the work and arguments put forward as they are profound specially at that time but my issue is as scientist he would have gained my respect if he would have referred to his findings ...more
Mohammed Hamad
الإجابة (الصريحة) عن نشأة الإنسان بالنسبة لدارون ما كانتش موجودة في On The Origin of Species يمكن لأن الموضوع فيه تعقيدات كتير، ولذلك يعتبر The Descent of Man التكملة لسلسلة الاحداث الطويلة اللي بدأها في كتابه الأول.

الكتاب ده بيحتوي على 21 شابتر تقريبا، متقسمة في تلات أجزاء، منهم جزئين بيركزوا على الإنسان وجزء كبير بيتكلم على حيوانات مختلفة (زي الحشرات، والاسماك، والزواحف، والبرمائيات، والطيور، والثديات) عشان يشرح فيه قوة موازية-مساعدة للانتقاء الطبيعي Natural selection سماها الانتقاء الجنسي Sex
...more
ڝafa♤
Jun 05, 2014 ڝafa♤ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
تمنيت لو كان لعقلي فم كما لمعدتي وألتهم هذا الكتاب بفصووولة كلها دفعة واحد كل حرف فيه
Josh
Jan 27, 2013 Josh rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The secular humanist handbook and bible.
R.K. Byers
Sep 04, 2009 R.K. Byers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
legendary in it's racist iconography. a veritable Mein Kampf.
Bob Nichols
Apr 01, 2014 Bob Nichols rated it really liked it
Darwin wrote this book in 1872. It's interesting to compare what he wrote about then with what many of his successor theorists write about today.

While today’s emphasis is on universals (e.g., humans are this or not this or that), Darwin notes throughout this book that individuals also have a wide variability in physical, emotional and mental structures and capabilities. Importantly, this suggests variability in biological temperaments (e.g., timidity and courage) and, more broadly, inborn charac
...more
Ross
Sep 17, 2012 Ross rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Evolution is an area of major interest to me so it is curious I had never read "The Descent of Man." The reason is I had been told that there is no science in the book worth mentioning, and having now read the book I find that is the case.
In his conclusions at the end of the book Darwin states his ideas put forward in the book are "highly speculative and may be in error." He was correct in that statement.
Basically Darwin posits that the various human races, while descended from an ape-like ances
...more
Amal Shoeib
Sep 01, 2013 Amal Shoeib rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Though I liked the "Origin of Species" very much. I didn't like this book! There are many snap judgements, hasty assumptions and inaccurate conclusions. At times, I've been wondering if this was really Darwin! The book was basically about The sexual selection a theory that Darwin postulated where females have the ability to pick their preferrable male to produce offspring. I'm not quite sure if I got it well but did he just mentioned something about selecting species to make savegry species vani ...more
Steve Van Slyke
Feb 26, 2012 Steve Van Slyke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those interested in the history of evolutionary theory
Shelves: science, kindle, evolution
I have to admit I skipped a few sections in the part on Sexual Selection because Darwin went to such great lengths at times to quote every possible book, document, paper or manuscript that either supported or attacked his theories, that at times I just got worn down.

But having said that, it was a very worthwhile read and it is astounding how many of his theories about man's evolution from earlier forms have been proven to be right on or nearly so.

My only criticism of the book other than its leng
...more
Tom
Jan 26, 2012 Tom rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Going into this work, I was under the impression that it mainly focused on human evolution. That isn't entirely the case. There are chapters on human evolution, to be sure, but the lengthiest writings have to do with sexual selection in non-human species (there are three or four chapters on birds alone). This fact was my first disappointment.

My second disappointment is many of Darwin's remarks on the differences between the sexes in humans. A lot of his hypotheses in this regard are severely dat
...more
Alex Lee
Sep 16, 2016 Alex Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, 2016
This book took a long time for Darwin to write because he was afraid of how his conclusions and thoughts would be treated by the public.

In a way this book is more application than anything else; but its effect is to realign all the justifications of the uniqueness of humankind and show how animals have a more abstract version of the same interaction. This places man at the apex with the rest of the animal kingdom as more specific interactions of the same, depending on their niche. Much of this b
...more
Diana
Another read for my Western Civ class. It's getting as bad as a Literature class. An interesting book by the man who came up with the Theory of Evolution. I probably would never have read it without this class and I don't think I'll ever read it again. Again it's a product of its time and dry reading, if you are interested in science especially Biology or Geology I recommend reading it at some point. If you do read it I also suggest finding "Bishop Wilberforce's Response". It's the Christian per ...more
Al
Feb 09, 2008 Al rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What can I say about Darwin and his contemporaries? Time has been the great witness to their theories. Those with eyes to see, see the world explained. Even those who don’t, can't explain their theories away. Darwin's logic opened the universe to my mind. It amazes me that they did their work totally by observation. Time has given us many tools to confirm their work. Some ideas fell away, almost all are still valid. One of the great accomplishments of our species.
Bcoghill Coghill
Oct 12, 2014 Bcoghill Coghill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read this in my Uncles house in the sixties. He had a wonderful library and gave me complete access. Shockingly, he and his progeny are all deniers of evolution and much of modern science. Thank goodness someone got use out of his library.
Johnn Escobar
May 19, 2017 Johnn Escobar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is amazing how brilliant Charles Darwin was in noticing and studying evolution completely apart from the limitations of his time, discovering what was at first a theory and today is an absolute truth.
Their scientific postulations make clear evidence of the similarities between humans and apes - in a broad sense of the word - denoting that the present primates would be a kind of evolutionary variation that measured between "the primate" as he called the creature that Gave rise to humans and th
...more
Travis Lindeman
Jun 19, 2017 Travis Lindeman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised by how very readable Darwin was. It's much more than just natural observations contained in this book, there are some pretty interesting and unique ideas about psychology. Where this work is instrumental is in establishing a link between humanity and the animal kingdom. The difference between us, the readers of this text, and animals is only one of degree, but not that we as humans are essentially different from the animal kingdom.
Sandro
May 10, 2017 Sandro rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biology, science
The first part goes very fast and gives a clear insight on Darwin's way of reasoning. The second part and mainly the chapters on Sexual Selection: a bit of a tedious list of his observations, with little argumentation. Although the observations are an argument for Man's descent..
Also: I think it best that hard-core feminists do NOT read the two chapters on the Secondary sexual characters in Men ;-)
Hana Marion
Jun 12, 2017 Hana Marion rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very interesting read, even though it took quite a while to get through. The archaic language was a bit rough at the beginning, but once I got the hang of it it flew by. As with most works from that era, there are a number of racist assumptions and analysis made, but if you can plug your nose and keep with it, it's a rewarding book.
Jeff Richardson
Its like reading the instructions of building a motor after you have spent 15 years building them. You pick up a few items here and there but usually the same ideas that you have heard from professors but just in a much more wordy fashion
Vanessa Wester
Jan 23, 2016 Vanessa Wester rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It seems apt to review this book, since it was written in the time period that I am writing my latest books about. It is important to remember what people use to think, and how much they knew considering the fact they had nowhere near the access to resources we now have.

There is no denying that a lot of the material included in this book is scientific, and that his speculations are slanted by the "way of thinking" at that time. It would be incredible to bring Darwin to modern day to see if his t
...more
J.W.D.
Mar 03, 2017 J.W.D. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think even the most devoted religious people among us can enjoy the writings on birds. No. But then I'd rather read this book than listen to anyone, even the atheists, speak of YHWH, or lack thereof.

I've come to the conclusion that I'll be reading bits and pieces over the years, years wherein on the occasion I was asked, "What is your higher power?" I could dutifully, honestly reply, "Reason."
Monica
Nov 17, 2016 Monica rated it liked it
So technically I have been reading this work for almost a year so my disclaimer is that I may have forgotten a few things noted along the way. I by no means have studied this work but did just read it for educational and historical and perhaps a little bit of entertainment purposes. I am not a scientist or claim to know much about this topic but yet I have been interested in it.

So quick notes of sarcasm and inappropriate jokes - Darwin discusses the evidence that our ears were previously pointe
...more
Barry Cunningham
A very difficult read. I read it as an eBook on my iPhone, which made it doubly difficult because all the footnotes are interlineated in the text.
Historically, the book is very important. Darwin had left off dealing in detail with man's place in evolution in The Origin of Species because he knew it would be a lightning rod, and, as such, a distraction from his exposition of principles of natural selection.
I found the book's organization somewhat confusing. Only the first part of the book is real
...more
Peter Cawdron
Jun 06, 2012 Peter Cawdron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not the lightest of reading material, but thoroughly engrossing once you pick up on the subtle threads Darwin exposes. This book should stand equal to On the Origin of Species. Darwin is meticulous in documenting his sources, which makes it hard to read at times as the flow is often broken by these interjections, but his insights into both animal and human behaviour are astounding.

Calling this book the Descent of Man is a little misleading in that 80% of the book is to do with establishing the
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Please delete this author? 14 74 Jun 06, 2012 12:32AM  
  • Principles of Geology
  • The Structure of Evolutionary Theory
  • Sociobiology: The New Synthesis
  • Lucy: the beginnings of humankind
  • Opticks
  • Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul
  • The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution, and Inheritance
  • Charles Darwin: The Power of Place
  • On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals
  • The Neandertal Enigma: Solving the Mystery of Human Origins
  • Man's Place in Nature
  • The First Human: The Race to Discover Our Earliest Ancestors
  • Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist
  • Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design
12793
Charles Robert Darwin was an English naturalist, eminent as a collector and geologist, who proposed and provided scientific evidence that all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors through the process he called natural selection. The fact that evolution occurs became accepted by the scientific community and the general public in his lifetime, while his theory of natural selec ...more
More about Charles Darwin...

Share This Book



“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.” 488 likes
“As man advances in civilization, and small tribes are united into larger communities, the simplest reason would tell each individual that he ought to extend his social instincts and sympathies to all members of the same nation, though personally unknown to him. This point being once reached, there is only an artificial barrier to prevent his sympathies extending to the men of all nations and races.” 60 likes
More quotes…